If you are new here, I follow a program called Bright Line Eating, written by Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. I am in no way associated with the program but am simply a benefactor of her beautiful, life saving science.
With that said, there is a ton of information on the official Bright Line Eating website that can tell you how to get started with the program. In the mean time, I wanted to share some examples of the kind of food I eat by following this plan in hopes that it inspires you. The thing that really sold me on this program was the fact that there were no shakes, powders, supplements, pre-packaged, pre-proportioned foods to buy from them. There is only whole, natural, plain, simple, beautiful foods you buy and prepare yourself.
But, learning how to do that might not be a skill you already have, I know I didn’t when I started. I had the “formula” from the book, the recommended portions of protein, fat, grain, vegetables and fruits for each meal. But I didn’t really know what that looked like in action.
So over the next three posts, I am going to share the photo, content and BLE portions of some of my recent meals so you can visually see how amazing this plan can be in hopes that it helps you on your journey. Most of the meals are simple, whole foods but where I use something that requires a recipe, I will either link to the recipe or shout out to where you get the recipe yourself. Let me know if you have questions or ideas for me to try, I would love to hear from you.
In November of 2019 we took a trip to Texas to see family. Before we left we took some photos to memorialize the visit. When I saw the photo, I could hardly believe it was me standing there. My first thought was, “that photo must be distorted”. But it wasn’t the photo that was distorted, it was my view of myself. In the photo I am holding my youngest child and she looks normal sized. The realization that I had let things get so “bad” overtook me. Apparently, without even noticing it happening, I had taken myself out of the picture, figuratively and literally for so long that when I finally saw my self fully, I didn’t even know who I was. Over time I had become skilled at hiding in the back, getting only the best angles, sharing only cropped photos. All while putting myself in the back from a health perspective also. I stopped caring for myself in the ways that make me better able to care for others. For example, the hectic and crazy schedule of being a full-time work outside the home, mother of four young kids left so little time for dinner, that often I would make fast, easy dinners for my kids, enough to get them fed and off to bed and then, instead of making myself a plate, I would just eat the leftover scraps from their plates to save time. I hate to even admit these facts, but I was tired. So. Tired. What happens when you spend years fueling your exhaustion with caffeine and sugar so that after you put the kids down, you can “get back to work”, whether that be house work or catching up on office work? You get fat. You get soft. Your light burns a little less brightly. You inch away from the healthful person you may have once been one exception, one “just this time”, one “I need this” at a time. Before you know it, you’ve created a space of denial around yourself so thick that it takes actually not recognizing the sad, stressed, tired, overweight person in the photo who is masquerading as you to wake you up. I woke up. I woke up hard. I felt a fiery determination to “fix this”, like I had never felt before. I decided to make 2020 the year I took back my life, one meal, one day at a time. I didn’t know yet how I would do it, but for the first time in a lifetime, I knew I WOULD do it.
What sparked your fire to start your “recovery”. Was it a photo, a comment? Let me know in the comments.
I started Bright Line Eating in January of 2020. To date, I am down about 60 lbs with another 40 ish to go. When I started, to really get going, I had to “mind my own plate” and take care of my needs first. I had to focus on myself. Which, being a mother to four young children (2 year old girl, 4 year old boy, 6 year old girl and 8 year old boy) was sometimes hard to do. This family keeps me busy trying to sail the ship of career, family, housekeeping and of course, the never ending question of “What’s for dinner.”
After years of putting my needs last, where I wouldn’t even bother making myself dinner, where I would just eat the left over scraps off my kids plates because, “we don’t waste food”, this new mindset was a big shift. I ended up making two meals most nights, one for my family and one for me. That is what I had to do to get started because if you have ever cooked a home cooked, from scratch meal just to have EVERYONE refuse to eat it, you know what it’s like to have to save your sanity and do what you must to get by. You think, “let’s pick one battle at a time.”
Yet, I found comments from people who made the same thing for their families as themselves and just “added the grain” for the family to feel judgmental. I thought, “They clearly do not understand what it is like to have four, young, needy, picky eater kids.”
But really, some of them probably did understand. It was me who didn’t understand. I didn’t understand that I am the one who had trained my kids to not like “healthy food”. I am the one who makes them chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. I am the one who let’s them eat granola bars by the Costco box. Me. They are picky kids because I have trained them to like certain foods and the vicious cycle of poor eating habits plagues another generation.
I was determined to stop the bad habits, but growth takes time. Honestly, it wasn’t until my tastes started changing after months of BLE that I really realized theirs would also, if I lead the way. And so began my attempts to bring them, unknowingly, under my BLE influence.
I set out on a mission, I would become one of those “judgmental” people that annoyed me. I would make one meal that was adaptable to their needs and mine. We started with tacos. Simple. Easy. I get a bowl, they get a tortilla. They ate it up. This wasn’t a big stretch for them, they often ate tacos and burritos. But these tacos had more veggies. I put all the fixings out on the table and let them choose what to put in their tortillas. My 4 year old added meat, beans, lettuce, cheese and peas. I said nothing, he ate it all.
Eventually, my kids have started asking questions about my food selections and started making comments of their own. My six year old has decided she wants a salad at every meal so she “can be like me.” When she says, “Mom’s on a diet.” I gently correct her and tell her, no, “Mom eats a healthy diet.” Talking to your kids about eating healthy is a challenge. Clearly, the messaging got mixed up for me.
But everyday I work at it a little harder and try my best to share my food choices and new positive habits with my kids. It is a work in progress, but it gets better every day. Making separate meals for everyone in my house multiple times a day is just not sustainable. Learning to be BLE as a family is going to be an essential component to my success. So finding kid approved BLE influenced meals is going to be a major focus of this blog. We’ll test recipes and food combinations and give feedback on Bright Line Eating as a family.